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Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2004 May.  p. (Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Discussion Paper; World Bank Report No. 69106)This paper argues for more nuance in the interpretation of progress towards the Nutrition Millennium Development Goal indicator (halving the prevalence of underweight children, under 5 years old, by 2015). Interpretation of a country's performance based on trends alone is ambiguous, and can lead to erroneous prioritization of countries in need of donor assistance. For instance, a country may halve the prevalence by 2015, but will still have unacceptable high malnutrition rates. This paper analyses which countries are showing satisfactory and unsatisfactory progress using the Annual Rate of Change (ARC), and then introduces the World Health Organization-classification of severity of malnutrition in the analysis to provide more nuance. It highlights that a little less than half of the Bank's client population is likely to halve underweight by 2015. Although the paper uses national data only, it flags the risks and recommends that countries take regional disparities into their needs-analysis. The paper also argues for more attention to the other important nutrition indicators, stunting and micronutrient deficiencies, which remain enormous problems, and briefly discusses solutions to reducing underweight malnutrition.
A review of population, reproductive health, and adolescent health and development in poverty reduction strategies.
Washington, D.C., World Bank, Health, Nutrition and Population Central Unit, Population and Reproductive Health Cluster, 2004 Aug.  p.This review examines how poverty reduction strategies are addressing population (Pop), reproductive health (RH), and adolescent health and development (AHD) issues. We analyzed twenty-one Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and associated documents, and conducted interviews with Health, Nutrition, and Population (HNP) staff at the World Bank involved in the poverty reduction strategy process. Based on this review, we recommend actions that the Bank, other donors, government counterparts, and civil society groups can take to better support countries to address Pop/RH/AHD issues in their poverty reduction efforts. Population, reproductive health, and adolescent health and development issues are closely interrelated in cause, consequence and policy implications. To maintain a stronger focus on these three issues, we chose not to analyze related concerns such as gender, nutrition, and education -- all essential components of the multisectoral approach advocated by the Cairo Programme of Action (ICPD, 1994). Other reviews have examined these related issues in greater depth. This paper complements a growing body of work reviewing the application of the PRS framework to poverty alleviation in low-income countries. Compared to previous health and related sector reviews, it provides a more in-depth look at Pop/RH/AHD issues, examines documents related to the PRSP such as the JSA and CAS, and incorporates interviews of key actors with Pop/RH/AHD expertise involved in the PRS process. This review is meant to complement findings from other reviews of the PRS process that focus on broader issues of relevance to all sectors. Our analysis relied on several of these relevant internal and external reviews, including in-depth reviews of gender, the health sector, nutrition, and population and development issues. (Excerpt)
Brussels, Belgium, DSW, 2009. 62 p.In September, DSW and the European Parliamentary Forum (EPF) produced the 2009 edition of our Euromapping report, an annual publication that provides an overview of the comparative ODA and SRH funding contributions and commitments of an individual donor country over time. This year's publication has been produced with the support of the European Commission, which has allowed us to release the publication along with a coordinated advocacy and media campaign in 7 European countries. In addition to being a quick reference guide on European funding levels for family planning and reproductive health, Euromapping is intended as an advocacy tool for NGOs and decision makers to monitor the level and composition of ODA as a means of verifying whether governments are living up to their political and policy commitments.
Lancet. 2007 Sep 22; 370(9592):1034.The association between domestic violence and the first five Millennium Development Goals is bidirectional. Violence has a negative effect on efforts to alleviate poverty (MDG 1), and poverty has been shown to increase the likelihood of violence. Similarly, education, women's empowerment, child mortality, and maternal health are all linked to domestic violence. Simwaka and colleagues discussed the association between women's empowerment and violence against women and poor access and control over resources, and recommended putting gender issues in the African agenda to achieve MDG 5. Hence, monitoring the progress in preventing violence should not be separated from monitoring the development process in developing countries. Other challenges such as discrimination, inequity, extremism, religious fanaticism, human rights violations, and the faded democracy process have hampered efforts to combat violence in these countries. Ammar stated that "Egypt would be able to combat public violence (eg, terrorism) better if it addresses co-occurrence of spousal and child abuse than by changing its school curriculum". Moreover, we will not be able to estimate properly the magnitude of domestic violence if its economic costs are not investigated. Therefore, the growing political will to take action against violence is not enough in itself, especially when women feel that spousal abuse is justified and when judges and lawyers are part of a culture that tolerates violence against women. (full text)
New York, New York, United Nations Development Programme [UNDP], . 14 p.The deepening of democratic institutions, gains in macroeconomic stability and rapid expansion of prosperity contribute to an overall encouraging context for sustainable development in Brazil. Yet, despite these numerous advances, real poverty has only moderately declined, and inequality persists. In Brazil, economic and social status tends to vary by geography, race and gender, a legacy of the country's history. Imposed and de facto colonial and post-colonial divisions among indigenous peoples and descendents of Portuguese settlers, African slaves and European, Middle Eastern and Asian immigrants created persistent structures of exclusion and inequality. In the 1950s, during the military government, a strategy of import substitution prioritized rapid industrial expansion, and helped to bring about significant, sustained economic growth. Benefits, however, accrued disproportionately to the upper classes at the expense of workers and unions. The industrialization contributed to the expansion of the favelas (urban slums), one of Brazil's greatest contemporary challenges, by promoting urban migration while infrastructure and social support did not expand at the same pace. (excerpt)
London, England, Earthscan, 2005.  p.How can the global community achieve the goal of gender equality and the empowerment of women? This question is the focus of Goal 3 of the Millennium Development Goals endorsed by world leaders at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000 and of this report, prepared by the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Education and Gender Equality. The report argues that there are many practical steps that can reduce inequalities based on gender, inequalities that constrain the potential to reduce poverty and achieve high levels of well-being in societies around the world. There are also many positive actions that can be taken to empower women. Without leadership and political will, however, the world will fall short of taking these practical steps--and meeting the goal. Because gender inequality is deeply rooted in entrenched attitudes, societal institutions, and market forces, political commitment at the highest international and national levels is essential to institute the policies that can trigger social change and to allocate the resources necessary to achieve gender equality and women's empowerment. Many decades of organizing and advocacy by women's organizations and networks across the world have resulted in global recognition of the contributions that women make to economic development and of the costs to societies of persistent inequalities between women and men. The success of those efforts is evident in the promises countries have made over the past two decades through international forums. The inclusion of gender equality and women's empowerment as the third Millennium Development Goal is a reminder that many of those promises have not been kept, while simultaneously offering yet another international policy opportunity to implement them. (excerpt)
Unkept promises: what the numbers say about poverty and gender. An international citizen's progress report on poverty eradication and gender equity. Advance Social Watch report 2005.
Montevideo, Uruguay, Social Watch, 2005. 114 p. (Social Watch Report)Almost five years have passed since the largest gathering ever of heads of State and government made this solemn promise to the peoples of the world: "we will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty."1 Almost ten years have passed since the leaders of the world solemnly committed themselves in Copenhagen "to the goal of eradicating poverty in the world, through decisive national actions and international cooperation, as an ethical, social, political and economic imperative of humankind."2 This is an ambitious agenda. So much so that it was compared by many leaders to the historic task of slavery abolition in the 19th century. Inspired by the Copenhagen Declaration and the complementary Beijing Platform for Action towards gender equity, 3 citizen groups from all over the world came together to form the Social Watch network. Every year since then, Social Watch has published a comprehensive report monitoring the governments' compliance with their international commitments. The findings of the national Social Watch coalitions in over 60 countries and the analysis of the available indicators coincide: the promises have remained largely unmet. Unless substantial changes are put in place soon, the targets set for the year 2015 will not be achieved. (excerpt)
Are cost effective interventions enough to achieve the Millennium Development Goals? Money, infrastructure, and information are also vital [editorial]
BMJ. British Medical Journal. 2005 Nov 12; 331(7525):1093-1094.At a high level forum in Paris this month policy makers are meeting to discuss the financial sustainability and coordination of activities essential for achieving the millennium development goals. Building on other targets set in the 1990s, such as those at the 1990 UN children’s summit, these ambitious goals agreed by 189 countries aim to markedly reduce poverty and hunger and improve education and health throughout the world by 2015. But many less developed countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, are falling short of the target to reduce child mortality by 4.4% a year, the rate required to cut deaths among children less than 5 years old by two thirds (from the 1990 level) by 2015. (excerpt)
Indicators for monitoring the Millennium Development Goals: definitions, rationale, concepts and sources.
New York, New York, United Nations, 2003 Oct.  p.This handbook contains basic metadata on the agreed list of quantitative indicators for monitoring progress towards the 8 goals and 18 targets derived from the Millennium Declaration. The list of indicators, developed using several criteria, is not intended to be prescriptive but to take into account the country setting and the views of various stakeholders in preparing country-level reports. Five main criteria guided the selection of indicators. They should: Provide relevant and robust measures of progress towards the targets of the Millennium Development Goals. Be clear and straightforward to interpret and provide a basis for international comparison. Be broadly consistent with other global lists and avoid imposing an unnecessary burden on country teams, governments and other partners. Be based to the greatest extent possible on international standards, recommendations and best practices. Be constructed from well-established data sources, be quantifiable and be consistent to enable measurement over time. The handbook is designed to provide the United Nations country teams and national and international stakeholders with guidance on the definitions, rationale, concepts and sources of the data for the indicators that are being used to monitor the Millennium Development Goals. Just as the indicator list is dynamic and will necessarily evolve in response to changing national situations, so will the metadata change over time as concepts, definitions and methodologies change. (excerpt)